June 22, 2024
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Dash for Dignity 2022: Unlimited Fun, Endless Impact

Sunday, November 6 at Overpeck Park.

“You don’t have to run; just come!” exclaimed Jessica Katz, co-founder of Yad Leah, which is on a mission to ensure that every family in Israel has the clothes they need to confidently face their day with dignity, determination and self respect. “There is something for everyone at the November 6 Dash for Dignity event: buffet breakfast, kids’ activities and a ‘kid dash,’ cotton candy, inflatables, face painting, a live DJ, tech T-shirts and three walk or run events … and plenty of water!” The 5K is a USA Track & Field-certified event.

Dash For Dignity 2021 attracted 800 participants, and the achdut was palpable. This year they hope to beat that number. Teams can consist of families, shuls, schools, clubs, friends, small businesses, hospital and healthcare groups, corporations and work colleagues, restaurant groups, neighbors, organization boards or even a team “invented” just for the Dash!

There were also many singles and pairs last year, and of course the “buggy brigade” in the family walk, and even a short dash for the kids, grouped by age. The VIP tent will offer special perks for teams of 25 people or more, who will receive customized Dash shirts.

The goal for this year’s Dash for Dignity, its fifth, is $100,000 and will come from primarily participant registrations and corporate sponsorships. This year’s major sponsors so far include: Baron Herzog, Campmor, Cross River, Nina Eizikovitz/Links Realty, KOF-K, IDT, the Orthodox Union, and the Rothenberg Law Firm. Sponsorships are still available; See below for information on sponsoring.

A brief history of Yad Leah, from their website: “It started with co-founder Karen Thaler, an American living in Israel and just a few suitcases [of clothing] that were distributed personally, but rapidly grew to full shipping containers that are distributed in close to 30 communities around Israel. On the American side, co-founder Jessica Katz has gone from sending those few suitcases to running an industrial-sized warehouse and volunteer center where the clothing is sorted, folded, and packed.”

Now, 19 years later, Katz reports that $5 million worth of clothing annually is sent to Israel at a cost of $355,000. By the numbers, gently used donated clothing is packed one box at a time by volunteers at their Yad Leah’s warehouse located in Passaic. “We ship six lifts per year to Israel, with each lift containing 1,200 boxes, at a cost of $36 per box,” said Katz. So in addition to receiving the donations, Yad Leah funds the shipping costs and the land transportation costs here and in Israel.

The difference this clothing makes for families in Israel defies description. “We set up the clothing like it’s a regular store, with racks, shelves, fitting rooms and mirrors, because shopping just like everyone else helps to make people feel normal,” Yad Leah’s website proclaims. “Poverty doesn’t care about politics.”

Recently expanded collection locations and clothing drives are located in Teaneck, and now also in Five Towns, Manhattan and West Hempstead. The clothing outlets in Israel are run by volunteers located in numerous communities, such as Beitar, Beit Shemesh, Tzfat, Kiryat Arba, Shomron, and many others.

Yad Leah also has many volunteer opportunities. One of the most popular is the “Ninety Minute Pack for Israel” program. Volunteers come to the Passaic warehouse to sort, fold and pack clothing for shipment. Many volunteers consist of groups of friends or come from various schools, shuls and other organizations. All are welcome and everyone makes a difference! For more information call (973) 955-0861, or visit one of the websites listed below. The warehouse is located at 2 Brighton Ave., Passaic, NJ 07055.

So come on out to the Dash for Dignity on Sunday, November 6, starting with breakfast at 9 a.m. It’s a really nice breakfast, by the way, not just “fast food” and sugary cereal.

The 5K race begins at 10:30 a.m., and the kids’ dashes begin at the same time. The family 1-mile walk is set for 11:10 a.m.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. https://www.dash4dignity.org/sponsors/

Register here. https://runsignup.com/Race/Register/?raceId=99254

Donate here: https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/NJ/RidgefieldPark/DashforDignity#tab-individualFundraiserSelect

American Friends of Yad Leah Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law.

By Ellie Wolf


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